Race relations, living with HIV/AIDS, adolescent heartbreak, gay life, the healing power of dogs. Randy Boyd has written on these subjects and more on his blog, in numerous publications and in his four novels, which have been nominated for a total of five Lambda Literary Awards. Now, in one collection, revisit some of Randy's most essential writings in The Essential Randy Boyd, Volume One, featuring 10 stories, essays, blogposts and book excerpts from the black, gay, HIV-positive author.
"Nowadays people need easily accessible reading options," says Boyd about his motivation for the collection. "I've a fantastical, 700-page, Harry-Potter-size opus ("Walt Loves the Bearcat"), three other novels, over 500 blogposts and a plethora of pieces published elsewhere, from Outsports.com to A&U Magazine. But I asked myself: what if someone only had the opportunity to read a sampling of my writing? Which of my works most define me and my experience here on Planet Earth?"
The answer: The Essential Randy Boyd, featuring the following 10 stories:
Battle scars: a young man's transformation from being overweight, in the closet and afraid of getting AIDS, to getting in shape, coming out to his family and taking the HIV test.
Just like Magic: while the world reacted to Magic Johnson's famous HIV announcement in 1991, one black gay man already living with the virus reacted to the world's reaction in this essay published that same year.
Dear Magic Johnson, thanks for saving life: giving credit where credit it due -- to Magic and Cookie Johnson for their decades-long work dealing with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The day I died in 9th-grade gym class: the school's white quarterback makes an off-handed comment and a crushed, adolescent black boy is left to pick up the pieces.
Sometimes I forget I'm a n****r: the Rodney King-related, Los Angeles riots of 1992 was a life changing-event for many Angelenos, including Randy, who wrote this piece for a magazine while the smoke was still smoldering.
When the USC Sigma Chi's called me n****r: what happens when you survive childhood to escape to college in California, only to get there and be called "n****r" the week before school starts?
Why pet the dog when in doubt: bittersweet childhood memory reinforces the healing power of pets. From Randy's blog series, "When in doubt, pet the dog."
Update from the unlovable n****r f****t: that feeling you get when you realize most of your peers reject you for being black and gay ... and for living with HIV/AIDS.
Listen up, Kunta Kinte Koleman!: while looking back at the racial history of America through word play, a black gay man has some advice for his slave ancestors from the past.
Left for dead: the good, bad and ugly about surviving HIV/AIDS for 30+ years and counting, as detailed in an article in A&U Magazine.
In addition to his novels, Randy's fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including Certain Voices, Flesh and the Word 2, Sojourner: Black Gay Voices in the Age of AIDS, Flashpoint: Gay Male Sexual Writing and Freedom in this Village: Black Gay Men’s Writing 1969 to the Present. His nonfiction has been featured in A&U Magazine, POZ Magazine, the Indiana Word, Frontiers, The Washington Blade, The James White Review, The Gay and Lesbian Review, The Lambda Book Report, BeyondChron.com and the anthology Friends and Lovers: Gay Men Write About the Families They Create.
A 1985 graduate of UCLA, Randy has also been a contributor to Outsports.com and the publications of the Black AIDS Institute.
Then there's his blog, Randy Boyd's Blocks, where Randy’s writings cover a diverse range of subjects, including gays in sports and cheerleading. A longterm survivor of HIV/AIDS, Randy blogs about the disease from his perspective in HIV-P.O.V., a subsection of his blog.
So many writings, so little time. So where to start?
The Essential Randy Boyd makes it simple.
Get to know a writer with a very unique voice.